The Beginning

For the past three months, I knew that I would be working in Mumbai, India, at a non-profit called Ummeed. Ummeed provides various services to families who have children with development disorders. However, everything else about this fellowship remains a mystery. What would it be like to work in Mumbai? What would I be doing on a day-to-day basis? Who are the other fellows? How is the neighborhood where I will be staying? What will the fellows and I be doing at orientation? The abyss of unknowns keeps crowding my mind.

To get some leverage, I initially attempted setting expectations for what to get out of this fellowship. My previous international development work taught me the opposite – you cannot come in with stringent expectations. I have to be as open-minded as possible. I also recognize that I may have to change my habits, and work within the sociocultural dynamics and society norms of Ummeed and of India. For that, I hope to earn the trust and respect of my colleagues and the families Ummeed serves. However, all of this is easier said than done. This year will be filled with a plethora of challenges. But I’m excited to take them head on.

Finally, I am looking forward to meeting the other fellows. Its clear to me that this group is so diverse in every aspect: education, experience, interests, future aspirations, etc. Getting to know everyone on a professional level and a personal level will be a huge opportunity to learn so much more about the development sector.

Yeah, I’ll admit it, this post was too sincere and really boring. The next entries will be more intriguing!



Ambar's future aspiration is to become a physician serving underserved communities by improving access to health and education. His extracurricular activities, internships, and development experience in high school and at MIT helped him recognize that health and education are intertwined human rights necessary for the socioeconomic development of an individual. Such activities include helping design a microcredit and vocational training program for transgendered individuals and intravenous drug users in Delhi, interning at Physicians for Human Rights, and starting the MIT chapter of the 501c(3) educational initiative United InnoWorks Academy. On the side, Ambar loves working with children, reading, playing basketball and tennis, and socializing with friends.

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5 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. “I also recognize that I may have to change my habits, and work within the sociocultural dynamics and society norms of Ummeed and of India.”
    Which habits in particular do you reckon you want to change? Tell us more about norms and how you adapted to the different dynamics. I am highly intrigued about your future entries. Say hello to Jahanzeb.

    1. Hey Shagufta, I was not referring to anything specific, just to the general idea that I have to integrate myself into how the organization works, rather than doing anything the way I am used to or would prefer. Hope everything is going well!

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